Universal Music Group has promoted Ethiopia Habtemariam to chairman and CEO of Motown, reporting directly to UMG chairman and CEO Sir Lucian Grainge.
In connection with Habtemariam’s promotion, Motown will have greater creative and commercial independence to “advance its groundbreaking mission of artistic, social and entrepreneurial empowerment”, according to a statement.
Habtemariam has served as president of Motown since 2014, when she oversaw the label’s relocation to Los Angeles from New York. Last year, Motown launched in the UK.
Under her leadership, Motown continues its traditions of artist development and forging partnerships with creative and entrepreneurial entities, including Atlanta-based Quality Control Music (QC). The QC partnership has resulted in global success with acts including City Girls, Migos, Lil Baby and Lil Yachty,
Sir Lucian Grainge said: “Motown is such an important voice and, just as when it was founded by Berry Gordy, its impact continues to be felt around the world. Motown’s resurgence and powerful partnerships under Ethiopia’s leadership has advanced the label’s legacy as home to some of today’s biggest hitmakers and most meaningful voices in music.”
Ethiopia Habtemariam said: “It’s an incredible honour to represent and define what Motown is today. I’ve always understood the power of music and the responsibility I have, not only to continue to be an advocate for artists and creators, but to forge new paths for entrepreneurs and to lift up our next generation of executives around the world.
“I’d like to thank Lucian for his constant support and guidance over the years; my Motown team for all they have done and continue to do; the Capitol team for their help in building Motown over these past six years; Clarence Avant who has always taught me about the power of responsibility; and to Mr Berry Gordy, for his faith in me to carry on his legacy.”
In 2014, Sir Lucian appointed Habtemariam as president of Motown Records and EVP of Capitol Music Group.
Prior to joining Motown, Habtemariam was president of urban music & co-head of creative at Universal Music Publishing Group.
In it statement, UMG said: “Motown Records created a worldwide platform, crafting relationships and a path for creative Black entrepreneurship.”
Launched in 1959, Motown's artists have included Another Bad Creation, Ashanti, Boyz II Men, Brian McKnight, DeBarge, India Arie, Queen Latifah, Michael Jackson, Michael McDonald, Marvin Gaye, Rick James, The Commodores, The Jackson Five, The Supremes, The Temptations and Zhané.
PHOTO CREDIT: Bonnie Nichoalds.